Sculpture blocks ship’s Puerto Rico welcome

/ Source: The Associated Press

Tourism officials were ready to welcome a new cruise ship's first arrival in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, but the liner couldn't get to the dock — it was blocked by a big steel sculpture.

The officials had to delay and move a news conference to discuss their plans for expanding the U.S. territory's cruise ship business. It was to have been held aboard the Carnival Dream, which sailed on to its next destination, Grand Turks island in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A nearby dock that could have accommodated the Carnival Cruise Line's ship was occupied by another vessel.

The offending sculpture — it looks like a giant paper airplane propped up by gray legs — was installed along the dock in 2006 as part of a $30 million project to build a new port in San Juan's colonial district, Port Authority director Alvaro Pilar said.

It was designed and paid for in part by another cruise ship company, Royal Caribbean, he said.

Pilar said officials now plan to dismantle the sculpture at a cost of $2 million and possibly sell it as scrap metal. He said it would be too expensive to relocate it to another location.